Synchronized by the swing of the capitalist pendulum, economic isolationism has been closing inward but accelerating out on a course of equalizing. Now displaced, now restored. Taking shape is what looks like the nation state. It’s back. And one by one, the liberal and global ‘democracies’ of capitalism–their free market and open trade boarders– are waking up to find their precious womb of capital accumulation trampled by the march of close-the-boarders populism. First Brexit, then Trump, soon France. These three join Russia, Turkey, China and others in their nationalistic, the-State-first, economic ordering.
Put simply, Capital and her virtue are now up for grabs. The policies that harness globalization as a force for ‘prosperity’ have been exhausted. Slow economic growth, high unemployment and a general lack of trust in the system only accentuate the process. Reforms that promise to transform capitalism into a fresh virgin bride are being drafted and put before the public. And as long as they are dressed in ruling class ideology the capitalist system unleashed can be chosen, in part, by the wage-slave. Some capitalists resist, others take up arms. Both camps fight a tug-a-war for as much popular support requisite to exploit the surplus population.
To the neoliberal populism is “the chaotic end of a project that, with its single market and its day-to-day political engagement, has sustained prosperity and undergirded peace¹.” Not happy with the quip, the populist promises to “no longer surrender [his] country or its people to the false song of globalism².” What remains undone however is the question of the poor working class. Without them Capitals current proxy war is nothing. It is now made plain–the people must be ground up in the fight over who gets to turn the wheel of capital. Thus, the war is being waged and the lines have been drawn–would you like Populism or Neoliberalism to host your exploitation?
How can the various factions of the capitalist class still be accommodated with unpaid labor (surplus value) while ensuring the public is still willing to defer to them? For answers prayers are sent. They besiege Mammon, requesting that he shifts in favor of capital and away from labor. He responds brilliantly. He reveals that just how in religion man is governed by the products of his own brain, in capitalism he is governed by capital–i.e. economic pressures will keep the people inline. Inspired by the good tiding, the priests of Capital go to work.
On the 2016 campaign trail for the Democratic bid to serve capital, Raphael Warnock, a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church told his congregants that voting was a means to praise God. “Young people had to vote” he said, “so they don’t end up in chains.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who came in second in the Republican primaries, went around beseeching God to “awaken the body of Christ, that we might pull back form the abyss.” In these ways the people are ever assured that the oppressors system is as natural as the sun: capitalist system A or B. And if natural as the sun, it is common sense and a reasonable duty to fight among others to be exposed to its rays; winner-take-all.
Yet man remains alienated from himself and revolves not around humanity for the good of humanity, but around the dehumanizing sun of the capitalist class–for capital alone. Some turn to Hillary Clinton, others to Donald Trump. Others still to Bernie Sanders or other retainers of the status quo– who every few years or so promise relief. The sleeping giant, increasingly, grows weary nonetheless.
People today have become less willing to give elites the benefit of the doubt. It’s not enough anymore for the authorities to say “just trust us.” So, to keep the masses half-baked they are mobilized, in chains, to fight cold hardheartedly for their oppressor. Pleas for change are siphoned into the world of capital. Public energy is beat back into submission and the capitalists are given free range to extract unpaid labor. Indeed, Capital is in crisis– as expressed in ideologies of Populism and Neoliberalism. But as long as the wage-slave gives his breath of life to the capitalist mode of production, a crisis will be just a blimp on the radar screen. The poor are duped and the capitalist terror marches on, concentrated and stronger. Thus, the reaction gushes out across all strata, in every direction.
Let us build on true independence and salvation for the people
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¹,² The Economist November 12th & 19th